Deputy Smith claims that it will take too long to develop any potential find offshore in Ireland to assist with supply:
The climate action plan clearly shows that 30% of electricity will come from Gas in 2030. Corrib will have almost run out by then so that 30% needs to be found somewhere. Average global time is 7 years to market but even if it did take 10 years it would still be perfect timing. The reality is a new discovery and tieback into Corrib would be 5 years or less. For oil it would be 5-10 years in the Deepwater areas but again in the context of the transition that is small scale given every reasonable projection of oil demand in the world shows that oil usage in 2050 will be anywhere from 50% of current demand to over 100%. So even from 2025 or 2030 that is 20-25 years when the industry can help Ireland fund the transition.
The Kinsale Head gas field took less than 8 years from discovery to production. It was the first commercial Irish offshore development, requiring construction and installation of two platforms and a pipeline infrastructure and took place more than 40 years ago (discovery well completed 1971, production started 1978) since when production technology have moved on very significantly.
A discovery close to existing infrastructure (e.g. close to Corrib) could be brought on stream very quickly and certainly much quicker than 10 years. This would especially be the case for a relatively small discovery.
Some examples of very large oil and gas discoveries coming on stream very rapidly include the following:
Jubilee Oil Field (Ghana), 60 km offshore in 1.250 m water depth, 3 billion barrels, discovered in 2007 and started production in 2010.
Buzzard Oil Field (Outer Moray FIrth, offshore UK), 1.6 billion barrels, discovered 2001, started production in 2007.
Zohr Gas Field (Mediterranean, offshore Egypt), 30 Tcf of gas, discovered 2015, started production in 2017.
Deputy Smith claims that no challenges have been made by exploration companies on licences already declined by Government:
Bríd Smith continues to be deliberately misleading her fellow politicians and the general public on the issue that this Bill only concerns future licences. The inability to commercialise current licences by being allowed to convert to leases is the elephant in the room. Either that or she does not understand her own bill.
Not sure what 23 licences she is referring to exactly. An application fee for a licence round and the yearly fees companies pay on licences are 2 different things. If the state cancels a licence when then rent is being paid and then licence conditions are being met it would be surprising if there was not recourse.
A licence application being rejected for valid reasons, within the framework of the Act, is one thing. Such a rejection would not stop an applicant going back to the drawing board and making a better application next time. This Bill would do something else entirely – it will prohibit new licenses entirely no matter how good or bad an application might be. In general, an applicant has no expectation that his or her application will be granted so cannot claim on foot of a rejection – but that general rule applies where the decision-maker acts in good faith in each case, not where there is a blanket ban on new licences.
Assuming she means the instances where there were applications made for licensing options (or licences) under the competitive licensing rounds in these instances, where there were likely to have been competing bids for the same blocks and as such there were some unsuccessful bidders as such blocks could only be awarded to the winning bid as assessed by the Department.
This is standard practice globally and all companies bidding will have known the situation and there would be absolutely no expectation that application fees would be returned.
This is a completely difference situation to one in which the State might revoke a lease, licence, licensing option or other authorisation because of a ban imposed following the grant of the authorisation, or where there was a reasonable expectation that there would be an award of a lease to permit development.
It is also possible that she may be referring to situations where licensing options were not converted to licences for a variety of reasons. Again, this is a completely different situation to the one which would pertain in the event of the imposition of a ban by the State.
In either case the argument presented is a complete misrepresentation of the situation.